Follow FIBA on Facebook
Australia ride strong fourth quarter rally to steal the Final and the title from Japan
BENGALURU (FIBA U16 Women's Asia Championship 2017) - Japan looked firmly in control of the Final before Australia mounted a searing second half rally that turned the tables and enabled them to win, 61-60.
Japan led by as many as 13 points in this game, even holding a 3-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but the Australians proved to be the more composed team in the clutch. The Sapphires outscored the Akatsuki Five, 29-19, in the entire second half to pull the rug from under the Japanese and annex their first every U16 Women's Asia Championship crown.
Isabel Palmer stepped up big time for the Aussies, recording 14 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists to lead her team to the top of the podium. The duo of Georgia Moore and Agnes Emma-Nnopu backstopped her well with 10 points each. Emma-Nnopu also laced her stat-line with 10 boards and 3 blocked shots.
Japan utilized efficient and fluid offense to take control of the game in the first half, but they sputtered and crumbled under intense pressure in the last two periods. They shot beyond 50% by halftime, but that rate of accuracy dipped significantly in the second half. The trio of Miku Takahashi, Maika Miura and Aika Hirashita led the way for Japan with a combined 38 points. Star frontliner Sakura Noguchi was held down to just 2-of-10 field goal shooting and a total of 4 points.
Japan were great on defense, forcing 13 Australian turnovers, but that was offset by the Sapphires' intensity on the boards. Australia outrebounded Japan, 57-37, thanks mainly to Emma-Nnopu and Alexandra Fowler totaling 20 boards.